Feature

Eliot R. Smith, PhD, has focused much of his research on "socially situated cognition," the idea that cognition intimately involves an understanding of the interactions between one’s social environment and the workings of one’s mind. In a way, he says, this broadening of focus also applies to the journal he’ll edit beginning next month: the Attitudes and Social Cognition section of APA’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. He plans to think in terms of the journal’s interactions with neighboring fields of science, not solely its service to personality and social psychologists.

"This journal specifically plays a key role in translating psychology for a number of other disciplines," says Smith, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at Indiana University.

Researchers and applied scientists in fields as varied as marketing, organizational behavior, sociology and education follow the journal, Smith says. In an effort to broaden JPSP’s realm beyond psychology to science in general, Smith says those writing, reviewing and editing for the journal should work to avoid using technical jargon as much as possible. They also might describe implications that they believe their work has for more applied areas, such as marketing or health psychology. Smith hopes to welcome more papers that exemplify an interdisciplinary approach, with teams of authors from different academic specialties and levels of analyses.

Smith will begin accepting manuscripts on Jan. 1, and says he doesn’t seek to make drastic changes in the types of articles the journal publishes. He will, however, add at least one scholar active in the social neuroscience field on his editorial team to attract more research from this area.

Smith also intends to continue the journal’s strong international focus, built under former editor Charles Judd, PhD. In several recent issues, for example, Smith says, the journal published as many articles by non-U.S. as by U.S.-based authors.

"There are thriving communities of social psychologists all over the world, especially in Western Europe, Israel, Australia and Japan, who are producing really great research that deserves attention," Smith says.


Amy Novotney is a writer in Chicago.